How to Prune Riverflat Hawthorn


Riverflat hawthorn, also known as mayhaw trees, are native to the southern U.S. They tend to grow in wetland areas and around rivers, although they do grow on dry land as well. The tree produces a fruit called a mayhaw that is eaten by wildlife and used to make jelly and other concoctions. Riverflat hawthorns are an easy tree to care for. Pruning riverflat hawthorns requires a little bit of know how, but it is simple enough.

Step 1

Prune riverflat hawthorns in the summer after the fruit has fallen off. This will give the tree the most time to recover from the pruning and be ready to bear more fruit the following year. Riverflat hawthorns under 3 years of age should be trained to have one central leader. Prune riverflat hawthorns once a year.

Step 2

Remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches from your riverflat hawthorn. This will open the tree up and make it easier to prune. It will also increase the tree's growth potential.

Step 3

Remove any low hanging branches about 3 to 4 feet up the base of the tree. Remove each branch at the base. This makes it easier to prune the higher branches and to collect the mayhaws in the spring.

Step 4

Remove any crossing branches on your riverflat hawthorn. This increases the amount of light that reaches the inner branches and aids in air circulation. Remove only about 15 to 20 percent of the tree's growth each time you prune.

Step 5

Brush pruning seal on all of the cuts you made. This protects the tree from pests and infections.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear gloves when pruning the riverflat hawthorn. The young branches bear thorns.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Pruning seal


  • USDA Mayhaw Fact Sheet
  • Just Fruits and Exotics
  • What Is a Mayhaw?

Who Can Help

  • Mayhaw
Keywords: pruning riverflat hawthorn, prune riverflat hawthorn, riverflat hawthorn, prune mayhaw

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.